Taking care of business made Ezy

Publish Date: September 1, 2001
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LIKE ANY business, the wine industry is a complex one to keep track of.

But an Australian company has designed a system that integrates all aspects of wine production, from primary production inputs to cellar door sales.

Ezy Systems produces EzyWine, a computer system designed to control all aspects of finance and stock control.

Since its release, the program has dominated the domestic market and is now conquering New Zealand and South Africa.

The company also has its eye on markets in Europe and the US, according to Ezy Systems co-director and co-designer of EzyWine Nick Cugura.

"We're the main player in integrated software for the wine industry," Mr Cugura said.

Since the release of the program it has steadily knocked off its competitors and has a 90pc of some of markets.

"EzyWine is excellent value for money because it consolidates all winery activities into one system."
- Nick Cugura

"We have achieved this dominance through the strength of the product and word of mouth, with minimal marketing - and we have never lost a client," Mr Cugura said.

"The strength of our after sales support and the constant updates to the software have kept our client base strong and growing."

The software is continually being updated, with 200 improvements made each six months.

This involves travelling to see each client individually, often discovering new ways to improving the system further.

While some companies have paid huge amounts to have their computer systems adjusted for the GST or for year 2000 compliance, EzyWine customers have their systems updated at no additional cost.

The program consists of five modules that correspond to different aspects of winery production and management.

Vineyard management, winemaking, plant servicing, a full blown accounting system, and bottling are integrated in the program, so if one aspect changes, it affects the other aspects.

"For example, if you spray chemicals in the vineyard it automatically impacts on stock postings and financial movements," Mr Cugura said.

"When the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation became set on enforcing the label integrity program in 1993 we realised many makers didn't know how much inputs to their products actually cost, where the inputs came from, or what went into it.

"We researched the market and saw there were only four other players and that the wine industry would have to use computers to track all the aspects of making wine and to establish their label integrity.

Mr Cugura says most wineries are using up to five different computer systems that effectively become useless when they have to be manually integrated for purposes of label integrity and financial reporting.

"EzyWine interfaces with other vendors in the wine industry, such as suppliers of weighbridge scales, weather stations, maselli analysers, temperature control systems, cellar door point of sale, bar-coding systems, contract bottlers, wholesalers and distributors," Mr Cugura said.

The prototype of the program was released in 1993 after 12 months of work at six or seven days a week. At release it was believed to be 90% complete, but it was actually closer to 70%.

With constant upgrades it has got closer to the target figure, but because of changes in the wine industry and in the business environment generally, it may never be 100%, Mr Cugura says.

This has inspired the company's commitment to constant upgrades and customer support.

"At $25,000 for a two-user licence, EzyWine is excellent value for money because it consolidates all winery activities into one system," Mr Cugura said.

It removes errors and costs associated with double entry, automatically produces reports required by the AWBC, ATO, ABS, customs, and superannuation funds. And it greatly assists wineries in managing their business."

 

Source: Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference

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